Now in the garden, Jesus beckons those he loves to share in his sorrow - to stay present and pray with him in it. This is a hard thing to ask, to stay awake and keep watch with ourselves and another in anguish. It seems like we are hardwired to avoid suffering and we choose many means to avoid it. Falling asleep, checking out, numbing our sorrow with toxic substances or addictions all temporarily serve to keep us unaware of the pain in us and before us. Jesus longs to show us another way to be with sorrow and suffering with him. Jesus will give us the courage and strength to be present to reality and to be with him in it.
Mark 14:32-42 (NIV)
They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”
35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
39 Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.
41 Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”
For Reflection and Prayer:
Was there a word, a phrase, image, or feeling that stood out to you as you listened? Bring it into your prayer with Jesus.
How have you experienced keeping watch with Jesus in sorrow or suffering? What helps you stay awake to keep watch?
Is there a place where Jesus is inviting you to keep watch with him now? Have a conversation with him about it. How is he praying with you and for you in the watch?
Speak to your Abba about the cup you would like removed from you? What does the Abba say to you or show you?